David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
Career Development
Bryan Cranston
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
from the world's big
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Laurence Gonzales on Homo Sapiens' Stupidity

Laurence Gonzales:

Well, we’re descended from a long, long line of hominids that you can trace back about 30 million years to a time when the Earth was encircled by a great rainforest and it was populated by all kinds of different apes of various kinds.  Somewhere along about 7 to 10 million years ago, our type of creatures split off from the creatures we know as chimpanzees and bonobos, some of the great apes.  And along the line in there, during that 7 to 10 million years, we had creatures like Australopithecus, we had creatures like Homo erectus, our recent ancestors, and the Neanderthals who we may or may not be related to depending on which scientist you talk to, but that lineage, that’s who we are.  And if you look at what happened on Wall Street in the last few months, you see human beings, modern human beings, behaving like apes.  So we’re fully capable of jumping back into this ancestral behavior at times and doing really stupid things even though we’re very smart creatures.  In addition to that, I go into, in the book, some discussions of brain systems that we’ve inherited from these creatures, such as the way we process information.  We don’t really see the world as it is most of the time.  We create simplified models for it that makes us more efficient.  So, for example, if you look at a dog, you don’t have to examine it to see what it is ‘cause you’ve already identified the dog and you’ve stored a simplified model in your head of what it is, so if you see a Great Dane or you see a Chihuahua, you’ll instantly know this is a dog and you could move on from that.  So the system codes everything for us so that we can be very efficient, and what it tells us is you already know what’s going on, you can proceed.  Which in the long haul of evolution was a good thing, but in the modern world, this sometimes a bad thing.  So I go through examples of how this can trip us up.

Author Laurence Gonzales charts recent human de-evolution.

Live on Tuesday | Personal finance in the COVID-19 era

Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.

Women who go to church have more kids—and more help

Want help raising your kids? Spend more time at church, says new study.

Culture & Religion
  • Religious people tend to have more children than secular people, but why remains unknown.
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  • Conversely, having a large secular social group made women less likely to have children.
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Bubonic plague case reported in China

Health officials in China reported that a man was infected with bubonic plague, the infectious disease that caused the Black Death.

(Photo by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Getty Images)
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Leonardo da Vinci could visually flip between dimensions, neuroscientist claims

A neuroscientist argues that da Vinci shared a disorder with Picasso and Rembrandt.

Christopher Tyler
Mind & Brain
  • A neuroscientist at the City University of London proposes that Leonardo da Vinci may have had exotropia, allowing him to see the world with impaired depth perception.
  • If true, it means that Da Vinci would have been able to see the images he wanted to paint as they would have appeared on a flat surface.
  • The finding reminds us that sometimes looking at the world in a different way can have fantastic results.
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Education vs. learning: How semantics can trigger a mind shift

The word "learning" opens up space for more people, places, and ideas.

Future of Learning
  • The terms 'education' and 'learning' are often used interchangeably, but there is a cultural connotation to the former that can be limiting. Education naturally links to schooling, which is only one form of learning.
  • Gregg Behr, founder and co-chair of Remake Learning, believes that this small word shift opens up the possibilities in terms of how and where learning can happen. It also becomes a more inclusive practice, welcoming in a larger, more diverse group of thinkers.
  • Post-COVID, the way we think about what learning looks like will inevitably change, so it's crucial to adjust and begin building the necessary support systems today.
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